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When it hits the fan, don't react - take a moment

I was lucky enough to see a great example of taking a moment instead of having a reaction first-hand when I was working as a radio operator as part of the OC’s group - the operational team supporting the officer in charge of a company of fighting men.

It had hit the fan big time and our boss demonstrated excellent Emotional Intelligence supported by proven processes, backed by precision execution to get us out of the sh*t.

Although on the face of it, most people would expect him to ‘lead from the front’ as an example to his team, he did exactly the opposite and achieved outstanding results.

When the bullets started to fly, his immediate reaction was to hand over to his second in charge (a young officer with experience of combat who handled the immediate problem of getting and keeping the enemy’s heads down by co-ordinating the immediate response from the troops). The boss then called his ‘combat response team’ together and took a virtual step back so he could let the adrenaline rush subside and gather his thoughts.

This ‘pause’ is vital for any leader to calmly process the facts and decide on a dedicated course of action. This is best done away from the fray.

To support the troops best the leader must remove themselves from the immediacy and emotion of the situation, process the facts, prioritise the issues and decide on the best all round course of action. Having a small group of confidantes and assets at their fingertips helps the leader to decide on and direct the necessary resources in the most effective way to get the best outcome possible.

Our boss used his trusted advisors to mobilise the right assets as quickly as possible, directing the radio operator to connect with the remote support and pass on his orders. Once all decisions were made, orders delivered and support on its way, the boss rejoined the main body and resumed command again.

Within a few minutes we were receiving the directed support and were able to fight through the challenge and achieve our aim.

So when the sh*t hits the fan, take a pause, regulate your emotion, breathe, assess the facts, prioritise needs, decide on a plan and take fast, effective action.

Sean The EQ Commando spent 10 years in the Royal Marines and is now director of EQ2Lead. He helps leaders and managers frustrated with the lack of engagement from their employees to master the skill of positively influencing and engaging people to grow them into enthusiastic, committed teams

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